By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (May 23, 2015) — Gilson Umunnakwe lunged across the finish line in first place, as Tarleton State won the national championship in the men’s 4×400 meter relay.
Umunnakwe’s dramatic victory at the line capped a school-record time of 3 minutes, 8.25 seconds for the Texans, who held off second-place Angelo State (3:08.29) by four-hundredths of a second for the title. Texas A&M-Commerce was third, giving the Lone Star Conference a sweep of the top three spots in the final, marquee event of the 2015 NCAA Division II Track & Field Outdoor Championships in Allendale, Michigan Saturday.
Tarleton won two national titles at the championships. Euphemia Edem won the women’s long jump on Thursday (related story here).
Terrance Gross ran the opening leg for Tarleton, followed Cameron Krc and Clarencio Guerrero on legs two and three before Umunnakwe brought the champs home. The Texans shattered their own school record of 3:08.53, which earned them the LSC title and No. 1 ranking entering nationals.
Chase Rathke rushed to second place in the men’s 1,500 after winning the same event last year. He finished in 3:46.82, nine-tenths of a second behind Oliver Aitchison (3:45.92) of Adams State (Colo.).
Edem also scored, finished third in the women’s triple jump with a best effort of 13 meters (42 feet, 8 inches) Saturday. She is a double All-American after winning the long jump two days prior.
Kenny Odunaiya heaved the shot put 16.66 meters (54-8) to finish 15th, and Davene Carter took 17th in the triple jump, clearing the opening mark of two meters (6-6-3/4) before missing at 2.05 (6-8-3/4).
Stick with The Flash Today as we work to add quotes from Tarleton head coach Pat Ponder and some of the runners.